Alumna Rebekah Perry ’18 receives grant for conservation community outreach
Posted Apr 09, 2019
By: Aselya Sposato ’21
Otterbein University alumna Rebekah Perry was recently awarded a $3,000 grant from BirdNote to continue her passion for conservation education and community outreach she started as an undergraduate.
Before graduating from Otterbein in the fall of 2018 with a bachelor’s degree in zoo and conservation science, Perry worked with the Heritage Farm Museum and Village in Huntington, West Virginia, to create a nature and wildlife education series called Wild Heritage. The series offers outdoor activities for youth and adults, like nature hikes, bird walks, building bird feeders and planting flowers for pollinators.
“I knew I wanted to create something that could integrate the cultural history of the farm with the natural history as well,” said Perry. “The goal is to build a culture around the one that already exists and to teach kids to love what’s in their own backyards.”
Perry originally received funding for the development of Wild Heritage from Otterbein’s Five Cardinal Experiences (Five Cards) experiential learning program in the spring of 2018. After spending the summer launching Wild Heritage, Casey Tucker, adjunct instructor from the Department of Biology And Earth Science and Perry’s Five Cards advisor, notified her of the grant from BirdNote.
BirdNote is a company that educates about bird conservation through storytelling. The company posts two-minute stories online and on radio stations about how to protect birds under threat from habitat loss, climate change and pollution. The company also has national partners, like the Endangered Species Coalition, and an archive of educational materials and lesson plans available to educators everywhere.
After being awarded the grant from BirdNote in the fall of 2018, Perry now works full time as the director of wildlife education at Heritage Farm, where she looks forward to using the additional funds to further develop Wild Heritage.
“I want to expand the program to facilitate multiple interests,” said Perry. “I want to provide year-round educational programming for people of all ages. I’m also excited to use BirdNote’s content to help develop curriculum to use for Wild Heritage.”
In the coming year, Perry hopes to provide a new series of nature walks and wildlife activities, winter bird walks, and a spring youth program for children within the area.
“The professors I had at Otterbein were always willing to go the extra mile to help me excel and formulate my passion into action,” said Perry. “I wouldn’t have been able to do what I am doing now for my community without the guidance of Otterbein faculty and staff, the Five Cards initiative, and the unique preparation that the Zoo and Conservation Science and Business Administration programs at Otterbein provide.”